I expect the bulk of my audience for this blog to be Minnesotans or Wisconsinites from whom I’m not yet separated by thousands of miles; those I don’t quite miss yet because I see them at family functions, at work, on social media, etcetera. There’s not much to miss yet. I live in the house in the city in the state in the country where I grew up without a terrible amount of change or movement. Most people I know my age are heading off to a college in the US after the long and stressful process of applying, being accepted, picking a roommate, and finally moving into a dorm. I heard the complaints as well as excitement all through my senior year and I tried to relate but all I could really do was console or congratulate with as much empathy as I could muster. In the process, I also perfected my response to the question, “So where are you going again next year?” I won’t recite my response now because if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve heard it on multiple occasions.
I left my junior year the most uninspired I had ever been. It wasn’t necessarily through the fault of my educators, my peers, my family, or really anything I’m able to explain because it was both nothing and everything all at once. It was a nasty state of mind that expanded and festered into something that told me I could be successful, but gave me zero motivation to follow through. I felt like all my attempts to escape were too overwhelming to handle but somehow also not nearly good enough. This feeling led me to a less-than-stellar academic performance in my penultimate year of high school which neither I nor my parents were accustomed to. I still sometimes wonder if that year reflected the “real” me and if I had just gotten lucky back when it seemed I was actually “smart”. Though I have since revised my definition of both intelligence and smartness to umbrella domains far beyond only the isolating walls of high school, rendering these intrusive thoughts nearly extinct.